After US drops extradition request: Jabir Motiwala back in Pakistan

The Karachi businessman now literally has got another lease of life. Deepak Vij and Amirah Ajaz of ABV solicitors confirmed that their client has safely reached Pakistan.

Murtaza Ali Shah
Karachi businessman Jabir Motiwala. File photo

LONDON: Karachi businessman Jabir Motiwala has reached Karachi after the United States of America (USA) officially dropped his extradition request to the US to face charges of Class-A drug importation, money-laundering.

Sources at the Home Office confirmed that Jabir Motiwala – whose real name is Jabir Siddiq – was freed on Wednesday from the high-security Wandsworth prison after spending 32 months in a high security prison on American extradition request. Last week the US government dropped all charges against Motiwala in a move that has surprised the legal community internationally as such a move on America’s part is rare and happens only in exceptional cases when the US prosecution evidence is either seriously compromised or new evidence emerges weakening the prosecution case.

The most critical intervention in the case came when The News and Geo published a story on 19 March 2021 revealing that a former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informant was stopped from entering the United Kingdom by UK Immigration authorities, as Kamran Faridi wanted to record his testimony before the UK High Court of Justice. The former FBI agent had wanted to testify under oath before the Court that he was involved in the abuse of process to trap Jabir Motiwala and that he has irrefutable evidence to prove that his former FBI bosses asked him to manipulate the evidence against Jabbir Motiwala.

The manner in which this former FBI Agent was stopped by the UK Immigration authorities - especially at a critical stage of the case where he was going to give evidence to exonerate Jabir Motiwala - raised a lot of questions.

The former FBI agent was returned from the UK to the USA on FBI’s request, immigration to the UK not granted. He was immediately arrested when back in the US and taken to a US prison from the airport where he still remains, his family confirmed to this reporter.

On the 24th March 2021 at the UK High Court heard the appeal hearing of Jabir Motiwala against his February 2020 extradition order by the Westminster Magistrates' Court’s District Judge John Zani who had concluded that there are no bars to Pakistani national’s extradition. The FBI informant’s testimony was put before Lord Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith and Justice Robert Jay for consideration. The same content was reported first by this correspondent in The News and Geo five days before.

Jabir Motiwala’s barrister Edward Fitzgerald QC had asserted, in his arguments, that Motiwala not only faced a very real risk of an enhancement of charges to terrorism if extradited to America but a new fact had emerged through FBI agent that there has been an abuse of process throughout that this Pakistani national was entrapped.

On behalf of the US government, John Hardy QC had attempted to dismiss the FBI agent’s testimony but Lord Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith and Justice Robert Jay seemed unmoved and remarked that Jabbir Motiwala’s case was no more a “straightforward case". The judges reserved the judgment and it was hoped that within three weeks they would rule whether Jabir Motiwala should be extradited or not.

Within ten days of the high court hearing, the US administration wrote to the UK government that it was withdrawing all allegations and will not be pursuing the extradition case against Motiwala.

This reporter has seen court papers, including a sealed order by Justice Jay on 13 April, which confirms that the Secretary of State Priti Patel informed the court on 9 April 2021 that the US government has withdrawn the extradition request.

Justice Jay has written in his order that following consideration of the documents lodged by the secretary of state, Jabir Motiwala (the appellant) be discharged under section 124(3)(a) of the Extradition Act 2003.

The Order said: “The order for the Appellant’s extradition made by the Secretary of State pursuant to section 93(4) of the Act, on 15 October 2018 be quashed under section 124(3)(b) of the Extradition Act 2003. The Appellant will no longer be on bail for these matters.”

On the day the high court judge sealed the order (13 April 2021), the Home Office arranged for the COVID test of Jabir Motiwala which returned negative on the same day.

Yesterday (Wednesday) Jabir took a flight from London to Karachi to spend time with his family after nearly three years of the most grueling mental torture and imprisonment amongst some of the most dangerous inmates who are kept at the South London prison.

When Jabir Motiwala arrived in London on 18 August 2019 from Cyprus to meet his friends and to visit London, he would have never imagined that within hours he will be arrested from Edgware Road’s Hilton Hotel on the charges that warrant life sentence and death in US prison arrangements.

There was zero hope for him and the whole legal challenge looked like an exercise in buying some more time and then came the miraculous turnaround of things that hardly anyone could have planned or engineered. The Karachi businessman now literally has got another lease of life. Deepak Vij and Amirah Ajaz of ABV solicitors confirmed that their client has safely reached Pakistan.

Originally published in The News